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Cigar Review: Cohiba Macassar Toro Grande

21 Nov 2016

cohiba-macassarLike many of General Cigar’s new releases, the Cohiba Macassar comes with a story about its tobacco. In this case, they’re all proprietary and spent some time aging in rum barrels.

The wrapper is described as a low-yield Connecticut Habano “grown in a micro-climate that helps to achieve a richer, more flavorful tobacco.” A Connecticut Broadleaf binder covers filler from Dominican seed grown in Mao (distinct from the Mao tobacco used in General’s new Macanudo Mao) and from Nicaraguan Jalapa leaf grown for Cohiba.

This new regular-production addition to Cohiba was introduced last summer. As you’d expect from Cohiba, it’s an expensive smoke. The 6-inch, 52-ring gauge Toro Grande weighs in with an MSRP of $21.99, though I’ve seen it online for as little as $14 each for a 5-pack, and even less for the box of 10.

The other two sizes in the line are the Gigante (6 x 60, $23.99) and a Double Corona (7.25 x 52, $24.99). The name comes from an exotic Indonesian wood with a variety of uses, including a veneer on the cigar boxes.

The first thing I noticed about the Macassar was a gritty feel to the wrapper and an almost nonexistent pre-light aroma. It also gave me some occasional minor burn problems among the several sticks I smoked, requiring a touch-up now and then to keep it even.

Otherwise, construction and smoke production were first-rate.

Taste-wise, the Macassar is a good cigar, though not the most complex. The predominant flavors I got were wood, particularly in the beginning, and light spice that tended to ramp up and down throughout the smoke.

At the list price, it would be hard for me to recommend it. To me, at least, $22 is a lot of money for a cigar. But in the area of $14 it becomes much more reasonable, especially when you consider that it is a big cigar that burns slowly and lasts a long time.

If you can try one at a lower price point, you’ll find it enjoyable and satisfying. I give it three and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Pistoff Kristoff Corona Gorda

12 Nov 2016

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

pistoff

One of the newer lines from Kristoff Cigars, this is a dark, gritty-looking cigar. From the first puff, that theme continues with a rough, dirty taste typical of its Mexican San Andrés wrapper. The Pistoff Kristoff website lists the other ingredients as an Indonesian binder and Nicaraguan filler. Even after getting past the sophomoric name, I couldn’t find much to like. Though, if you’re a San Andrés fan and like stronger cigars, you might want to give it a try. The Corona Gorda (5.75 x 48) lists for $8.70.

Verdict = Sell.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Aging Room Solera Dominican Sun Grown Festivo

6 Nov 2016

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

solera

Adapting a Spanish technique sometimes used in aging various alcoholic and other liquids, Aging Room’s Rafael Nodal created Solera, a new line of cigars with four different wrappers. All feature Dominican fillers and binders. I smoked the Sun Grown Festivo, a 4.7-inch smoke with a ring gauge of 52. The Solera process involves mixing tobaccos together as they age after fermentation, rather than the more common method of aging tobaccos separately. I can’t say how much difference it made, but I did find the Solera smooth, balanced, and tasty with a long finish. Well worth a try.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: La Aurora 1987 Connecticut Robusto

29 Oct 2016

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

connecticut-robusto

For those who typically smoke stronger cigars, reaching for one draped in a shade-grown Connecticut wrapper is probably a rare occurrence. But I suggest mixing it up can be a positive experience, especially if you choose the right alternative. Like this bargain-priced blend released this year by La Aurora. With a Dominican binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan filler, the Robusto (5 x 50, $5.50) has a bit more strength than you might expect, as well as a mix of flavors beyond the common Connecticut grassy notes. While the draw is loose, smoke production is excellent. An altogether enjoyable smoke.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Room 101 Uncle Lee Ranfla

24 Oct 2016

uncle-lee

ranflaTo say Matt Booth’s Uncle Lee cigar had an inauspicious start last year might be an understatement. The original plan called for the smokes to be issued as a limited edition in packaging that resembled a cereal box with a prize inside.

That never made it to market, apparently from concern over a possible backlash at potential underage appeal. (Older smokers may be reminded of the Beatles’ Yesterday and Today cover debacle, though, unlike that situation, all original Uncle Lee cereal boxes were reportedly destroyed.)

The box that went on sale features a sketch said to be Booth’s Uncle Lee (“a constant inspiration”), with each cigar wrapped in black paper featuring cartoonish dollar signs.

According to initial reports, there were to be 5,000 boxes of 10 of the 6.5-inch, 50-ring gauge perfecto with a $10 price tag.

Whether they didn’t sell well or whether more were produced, I can’t say. But Uncle Lee has definitely hit the discount table, going recently for as little as $39.99 per box online.

Davidoff, which distributes Booth’s Room 101 cigars, still lists the Uncle Lee box price at $105, though it notes that they’re out of stock.

Uncle Lee features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder, and filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic and Honduras.

I detected little pre-light aroma from the oily brown wrapper or the filler.

Upon lighting, I noticed a slightly musty taste, a little reminiscent of a milder Davidoff but with a touch of spice added to the mix. As the Uncle Lee progressed, the spice intensity went up and down, mixed with some cedar and clove.

None of the flavors dominate, resulting in a smooth, balanced cigar throughout.

At $10 per stick, I’d be unlikely to stock up. But when you can pick these up for half—or less—than that, it certainly seems like one to check out. The 10-count boxes make the bargain even more enticing.

I rate Uncle Lee three and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Punch Signature Robusto

23 Oct 2016

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

punch-signature

When I reviewed this Punch in March 2015, my biggest complaint was “a sharpness that scratched at the back of my throat for much of the cigar.” After more than a year and half in my humidor, that’s gone and the Signature Robusto (5 x 52) has come into its own. A strong, spicy smoke with a slow burn, it was enjoyable from beginning to end. If you’re willing to invest the time—or can pick up Signatures that have been sitting awhile on your B&M’s shelves—I believe you’ll be rewarded.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: 601 La Bomba Napalm

22 Oct 2016

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

napalm

When this powerhouse line debuted five years ago, it was made by Don José “Pepin” Garcia for EO Brands. After the company split, production moved to Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Estelí. Through the changes, it has remained a strong, distinctive Nicaraguan puro with a dark Habano wrapper. Most notably, the flavor includes hot pepper, spice, and a touch of coffee. The Napalm (5 x 52) retails for about $7.50 but can often be found for much less online. Whether you’re a committed fan of strong smokes (our 2012 review of the Nuclear vitola noted “the subtlety of an AC/DC song”) or just want an occasional injection of fire, light up a La Bomba.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys